More childhood memories as I plunge back into rural Northants, just for you.
LifeAfterFootball may even know some of these places from his career at the Cobblers.
These are undiscovered lands off the old A45 from Purgatory to Despair, far from the neon lights of Pop World and Yates in Northampton.
Some 43 years ago, before BRAPA and Matthew were born, I was spending one of those famous hot weeks of the Summer of ’76 learning to play drums at the Salvation Army band camp at Grendon Hall. I broke my ankle (not playing drums, I hasten to add).
Grendon has never called me back to tick a pub, but 2 miles north Earls Barton calls my name.
Northampton is a surprising county, and Earls Barton is rather astonishing, particularly if you have any interest in Anglo-Saxon history.
I don’t, to be honest, but All Saints is a remarkable church with a harrowing “Crucifixion” and I know if it was 20 miles west in Oxon it would be overrun on Sundays, rather than empty.
Inevitably, the GBG entry is a micro which gives a nod to history.
I liked the Saxon a lot, though I was a bit confused to get “m’duck” this far south.
But the proof of the welcome comes at the bar, not the door, and was superb.
The lovely barmaid was ever so patient as I counted out my £1.75; no outstretched palm here.
A group of local gentlefolk sat at the window discussing their wine purchases, a chap my age kept the pumps cask flowing.
Cosy, I thought, as I passed judgement on a cool, chewy Phipps.
But never mind the church, the castle, the conkers or the cask.
Come for the loos. They’re sensational.